A strike by Heathrow airport workers that threatened travel chaos has been suspended at the last minute after one of the airport’s main refuelling companies offered employees an improved pay offer.
Refuellers employed by AFS Fuel Services had been planning to stage a three-day walkout beginning at 5 am on Thursday but the strike has now been put on hold so that workers can scrutinise the offer.
AFS provides refuelling services to some of Heathrow’s biggest airlines including Emirates, Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines. Other airlines that would have been hit by the dispute include Air France, American Airlines and United Airlines.
The company does not, however, provide refuelling services to British Airways and BA flights were expected to continue as normal should the strike have gone ahead.
AFS had initially offered workers a 10 per cent pay rise but refuellers rejected the proposal because they had gone three years without a pay rise and didn’t fell the offer addressed the sharp rise in the cost of living.
On Wednesday, Heathrow airport hit out at airlines that “aren’t willing to pay market rates” for ground handling workers which in turn has created staff shortages and a wave of industrial disputes.
The airport sought to shift the blame for the recent disruption and laid it firmly at the door of airlines that have “driven down costs over the years” to the detriment of workers’ pay and benefits.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.